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October, 2008





Punjab Chief Minister Mr.Parkash Singh Badal called upon the people of Punjab to carve out an ideal, value based and harmonious society by following the teachings of Bhagwan Valmik ji to strengthen the bonds of compassion, love, peace and brotherhood in the state.

Greeting people at a state level celebrations to commemorate the Parkash Utsav of Bhagwan Valmik ji here today, Mr. Badal said that India is known worldwide as a soil blessed by Gods & Goddesses, Gurus, Saints and Rishis, besides preaching, they were also instrumental in giving social order to our society for ages, that had to be scrupulously followed by one and all. Moreover, the existence of different religions had made our country a unique land of cultural diversity with secular approach. He further said that Punjab had also been specially known for its composite culture and religious tolerance.

Mr. Badal said that Bhagwan Valmiki ji was a great exponent and forefather of Indian culture & civilisation. "Bhagwan Valmiki ji was the creator of ever first epic, the holy 'Ramayana' that occupies a paramount place in Indian religious literature and has become part and parcel of Indian culture. Due to its ethics and teachings it has crossed the boundaries of India and has made a significant place in the world. The teachings of Bhagwan Valmik ji are still very much relevant in our present social structure and an ideal society can be formed by following the path shown by Valmiki ji", said Mr. Badal.

Mr. Badal said that for establishing true secularism every one should respect other religions while practicing his own religious principles to further strengthen amity and communal harmony in the state. He said that with this view the SAD-BJP Government had started celebration of all-important festivals of different communities and religions as State-level functions. Mr. Badal also underscored the need for religious tolerance, magnanimity and unity in the larger interest of our state and society. He called upon the people belonging to different communities to strengthen the social fabric of our country by displaying the age-old ethos of understanding and good-will as preached by our great Gurus, Saints and Seers.

Mr. Badal announced that the employees of Mohalla Sanitation Committees would be regularised soon after abolishing these committees in the state.

Reiterating firm commitment of SAD-BJP Government to uplift the downtrodden and underprivileged section of the society i.e. Dalits, SCs/BCs, who were made the target of systematic neglect and injustice during the regime of previous Government, Mr.Badal said that it was the agony of the fate of our country that 70% of the total population was earning just Rs.20 per day. The policies and programmes of various governments ruled for a longer period in the country were responsible for such like situation, added Mr. Badal. He further said that the SAD-BJP government had chalked out a comprehensive programme under which various welfare schemes were being implemented like provision of Rs. 15000/- at the wedding of every girl belonging to Dalit section without any pre-condition such as below poverty line (as imposed by the previous Govt.), to allot 5 marlas of construction space to every SC/BC/Dalit families to construct houses/flats and the financial assistance given under this would be increased to Rs. 50,000/-. Regarding education Mr. Badal said that state government would also provide free education to the poor intelligent students up to University level. The Chief Minister announced that Valmiki Bhawan, Ludhiana would be renovated soon.The Chief Minister paid obeisance to Maharishi Valmik ji and joined Sohba Yatra along with many SAD and BJP leaders and party workers.

Among others who addressed the function Mr. Hira Singh Gabria Minister for Jail & Tourism, Mr. Harish Rai Dhanda CPS, Mr. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon MP, Mr. Harish Bedi MLA, Mr. Kanwal Inder Singh member SGPC, Mr. Jagdish Singh Garcha Ex-Minister, Mr. Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal Ex-MLA, Dharamguru Dr. Dev Singh Adwaiti, Mr. Laxman Drawir, Mr. Ashwani Sahota, Ch. Yash Pal, Mr. Mohan Veer Chohan, Mr. Naresh Dhingan, Mr. Vijay Danav, Sh. Chander Pal.


Chandigarh OCTOBER 13, 2008

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today appealed the countrymen to participate in the tercentenary celebrations of Guru-Ta-Gaddi of Sri Guru Granth Sahib with religious fervour and enthusiasm to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood among various communities besides championing the cause of peace, national integration and communal harmony.

In his address at a meeting of National Integration Council held at New Delhi, Mr.Badal also urged the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and other dignitaries to be the part of these celebrations which could be a great unifying factor as this mega event would become a landmark in religeo-cultural national integration. The Chief Minister said: "The message of universal brotherhood-Sarbat Da Bhala (Welfare of all mankind) – of Guru Granth Sahib can be disseminated and all political forces can find a common cause to underline the feeling of belonging to a higher cause."

Mr. Badal said: "In this, Punjab can be a torch bearer not only to the rest of the country but to the whole world. At a time when divisive forces are exploiting religious, caste and ideological differences to foment unrest and tear apart the national secular fabric, it will be in the fitness of things to bring national focus on the tercentenary celebrations of Guruta of holy Sikhs scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the next few weeks as celebrations are already peaking around the globe and a groundswell of religious fervour is sweeping the people irrespective of their religious affiliations".


Chandigarh, October 13, 2008

The Punjab Government today urged the Union Government to immediately lift the ban imposed on the export of all non Basmati variety of rice and to reconsider the categorization of PUSA 1121 as Basmati variety.

This request has been made in a communication sent by the Punjab Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Sh. Adesh Partap Singh Kairon to the Union Minister of Commerce Sh Kamal Nath. In the communication it was requested that in view of the ongoing procurement of paddy in the State, the Union Government should lift the ban so as to enable the rice millers of the State to make purchases of the Superior Grade A non basmati varieties from the markets of the State. This step would, on the one hand enable the farmers to get higher prices for their produce and on the other help the millers to earn valuable foreign exchange for the country. This would give much needed impetus to the industrial economy of the Punjab in the present time of recession, Mr. Kairon pointed out.

Keeping in view the dire financial conditions of the Punjab farmers and with an objection of ensuring good prices to the prices for their produce, the Punjab Food Civil Supplies Minister urged the Union Government to lift the ban at the earliest so that the benefit of this could reach them. It would go along way in helping the farmers to tide over the financial crisis, he added.




Punjab is all set to fully computerize and network the working of PWD (B & R) Department, to monitor the ongoing projects and bring transparency in the working of Department.

Disclosing this here today Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa, PWD(B&R)Minister said that focus of computerization would be on systems for financial management, personnel management, office automation, messaging, file tracking etc.

Giving the details of the Project Mr. Dhindsa said that the department also planned to use the State wide WAN. He said that road sector specific systems would be procured, developed/ customized and implemented to meet the requirements for Roads Information System, Roads Maintenance system, GIS based MIS system, Project management system etc. The Minister said that these road sector specific systems would be fully integrated to the core applications to ensure seamless exchange of information and data for effective operations and decision making in the department.

The PWD (B & R) Minister said that Punjab Government was upgrading and constructing 1500 kms roads in the state at the cost of Rs.1500 crore in a World Bank Aided Project. He said that under this project Punjab Government was also engaging Project Consultant for Computerization of PWD [B&R] Punjab. Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board [PRBDB]. The Punjab Government has also invited expression of interest for computerizing the department.



Chandigarh, October 13, 2008

Paddy procurement in Punjab crossed 36 Lac tonnes mark in Punjab with Mandis of Forozepur division maintaining its lead.

According to an official spokesman by Sunday, Paddy procurement by six government agencies and traders reached 36,35,551 tonnes in Punjab. He said that PUNGRAIN procured 8,52,296 tonnes of paddy (26.4%) whereas MARKFED procured 7, 45,772 tonnes of paddy (23.1%). PUNSUP procured 7, 43,224 tonnes of paddy (23.0%) whereas Punjab State Warehousing Corporation procured 4, 34,709 tonnes of paddy (13.5%) besides 4,05,795 tonnes of paddy (12.6%) procured by Punjab Agro. The Central Government Agency FCI procured only 45,732 tonnes of paddy (1.4%). The Millers procured 4, 08,023 tonnes of paddy (11.2 %) by Sunday.

The mandis in Amritsar Division recorded 12,75,361 tonnes of paddy with Kapurthala recording maximum paddy by Sunday to the tune of 3, 02,561 tonnes. The mandis of Ferozepur division recorded 19,16 ,577 tonnes of paddy with maximum of 7, 49,250 tonnes of paddy being recorded by Ferozepur district.

The spokesman said that six government agencies have paid over Rs. 1818.13 crores for paddy procured by agencies during first 13 days of current Kharif Marketing Season.

The spokesman said that farmers of the State are being made payment of paddy procured by the government agencies within 48 hours of lifting of paddy from the procurement centres.

The Punjab Food Supply had setup 1622 procurement centres throughout the state to ensure smooth procurement of paddy.

Cooperative Sugar Mills to generate power of worth Rs. 200 crore : Capt. Kanwaljit Singh

Chandigarh , October 13, 2008

The Punjab Government has chalked out an ambitious plan to generate power to the tune of Rs. 200 crore per annum by setting up Co-generation power plants at all the state Cooperative sugar mills in the state.

This was disclosed by Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh here today while presiding over a one day workshop organised by Sugarfed to suggest various ways and means to make the state cooperative sugar mills self- sufficient. The workshop was attended by the Chairmen and Board of Directors of all the Cooperative sugar mills.

Capt. Singh revealed that the state cooperative mills have the potential of generating 100-120 MW power annually and the State Electricity Board has offered to purchase the proposed power at the rate of Rs. 2.86/- per unit thereby creating an additional revenue of more than Rs. 200 crore annually, while the existing losses of all these mills were just pegged at Rs. 77.95 crore .

He informed that a comprehensive revival plan to convert these mills into mega sugar complexes has been drafted. Accordingly the enhancement in the crushing capacity of the mills has become imperative as now these days a mill having a minimum crushing capacity of 5000 MT sugarcane was only sustainable. Besides this, creation of additional sources of income with special emphasis was being laid on diversification and production of ethanol as the Government of India had already allowed the blending of ethanol in petrol and diesel up to five percent, which would be further increased to ten percent in the coming year.

The Minister said that the state government had agreed in principle to grant bottling license to three distilleries of the state Cooperative sugar mills and in this regard proposals were being drafted.

The Minister categorically said that the Rs. 22 crore out of total pending 37 crore arrears of sugarcane growers would be disbursed within a week and efforts were being made to clear all the arrears in near future.

Capt. Singh further informed that the Registrar Cooperative Societies has been directed to constitute a high level committee of senior officers to streamline the functioning of Cooperative Institutions to bring more efficiency and competence in the day to day working thereby cutting short the time of decision making on the pattern of private sectors and submit its report within a stipulated timeframe of one month.

He urged that Chairmen and Board of Directors of these mills to work in unison and efficiently to realize the farmers that Cooperative sugar mills were their own mills and asked them to change their mindset and approach keeping in view the ever increasing competition from private players, whose sole aim was to exploit the farmers.

Earlier Mr. VK Bhalla MD Sugarfed welcomed the Cooperation Minister. Sh. Pritam Singh Kaunta Chairman Sugarfed, Sh. Muneshwar Chander MD Puncofed, Mr. Tarsem Lal and Sh. Sandeep Singh also expressed their views on the occasion.

Council for Integration or Disintegration?
Badal's "introspection" speech floors NIC: CM calls for special NIC session on Minorities, SC/STs

Chandigarh OCTOBER 13, 2008

Holding politicians and unscrupulous groups responsible for the rise of communal and ideological extremism in the country, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today at New Delhi called for "consensus of ethics on political conduct and the evolution of a common minimum programme against sectarian and communal violence to preserve national integration."

The Chief Minister also warned the countrymen against the specter of violence based on ideological extremism "unless we take immediate steps to remove the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor."

Deviating from the text of his prepared speech and speaking impromptu at a meeting of National Integration Council here today, Mr. Badal also bemoaned that fora such as the Council had also become nothing more than a photo-opportunity for politicians and a platform for declaring known positions based on communal and class interests of the speakers concerned. "As a result, even this august body functions more as a "National Disintegration Council than a platform for unity," said the Chief Minister.

Mr. Badal, whose unconventional speech was heard amidst pin-drop silence, stunned a galaxy of national leaders with his characteristic candour. Urging politicians to rise above the vote bank politics cutting across the party lines for redeeming the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in true sprit, Mr. Badal called for convening a special session of the National Integration Council and the National Development Council devoted exclusively to the economic welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the minorities. He also underscored the need to join hands for ensuring equitable opportunities and distribution of resources to the under-privileged sections of society. Among the urgent steps to be taken were the provision of 'Suitable environment for their growth, including availability of livable housing, clean drinking water and access to elementary health care and quality education. The concept of poverty and the Below Poverty Line should be redefined in the light of ground realities.

The Chief Minister struck a highly personal and emotive note on the issue of national unity. "As someone who was close personal witness to the partition of the country and the holocaust that followed it, I can say that the country's tomorrow looks even more worrisome than its present," he said, advocating a major all-party initiative to address the issues of communalism and extremism.

The Chief Minister said that conditions of poverty and illiteracy were the main reasons for the rise of ideological and religious extremism, and pointed out that the best way to fight extremism of any kind was to remove conditions of social, religious, political and economic injustice which were exploited by opportunistic elements to disturb peace. He said this problem could be effectively tackled through a mixture of administrative, political and economic initiatives.

Mr. Badal said that economic or ideological extremism springs from conditions of economic injustice and the failure of the system to provide the benefits of equitable development to the common man, especially the poor and the down trodden. In many places, it takes the shape of left extremism which is already affecting peace in several parts of the country".

Mr. Badal said that minorities in the country were feeling alienated because of the failure of the centre to provide effective safeguards and to protect, preserves and promote their identiy. He said that the "highly ill-advised move to redefine the concept of minorities as state specific was fraught with serious dangers to our national unity.Minorities must be allowed to flourish in an atmoshphere free from any unreasonable constraints.

The Chief Minister appealed to all political parties in the country to tailor their political philosophy and agenda in a manner that these promote the cause of communal harmony, social justice and equitable development, with special emphasis on the poor and the down trodden.

Citing regional imbalance as one of the major factors that had adversely affected Punjab's economic growth, Mr.Badal mentioned that the grant of special incentives to promote industrialization and economic development in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand had led to a virtual flight of industry from Punjab. "Such decisions must be re-considered so that no State is adversely impacted by them, as Punjab has been in this case. We do not advocate the withdrawal of these incentives to our neighboring states; we merely seek their extension to Punjab".

Mr. Badal categorically said that the planning process in our country must be drastically altered, decentralized and brought in tune with the federal principle to remove these regional imbalances. He said "The State government is in the best position to understand the problems of the people and their specific requirements, but they are not involved in the formulation of policies and programmes which directly affect them. Genuine federalism alone holds the key to the resolution of our development related problems".

Mr. Badal also averred that the formulas for devolution of Central funds should be recast in such way that states which contributed to the central kitty more should also receive more. "The top-down approach to development has completely failed. That is why the fruit of economic development are not reaching the targeted end-beneficiaries" said the Chief Minister.

Mr.Badal advocated that instead of putting in place a mechanism for addressing and redressing the concerns of our minorities, we keep harping on an artificial uniformity. Mr.Badal said "Let us frankly admit that despite our claims to the contrary, minorities, including the Muslims and the Christians, are not feeling safe in the country".

The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Media Advisor Mr.Harcharn Bains,Chief Secretary Mr. Ramesh Inder Singh,Additional Principal Secretary Mr.Gagandeep Singh Brar.



Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today extended his greetings to the people of Punjab on the auspicious occasion of Parkash Utsav of Bhagwan Valmik ji and exhorted them to follow his teachings and ideology to carve out an ideal society regardless of caste, colour and creed.

In his message, Mr. Badal said that Bhagwan Valmik Ji, the creator of first ever epic the holy 'RAMAYANA' was a great exponent of Indian culture & civilization. His masterpiece creation, 'Ramayana' is a fountainhead of human culture, moral values & ethics, reservoir of wisdom besides storehouse of all conceivable human values through which Bhagwan Valmik ji propagated the message of ideal life based on Righteousness (Dharma) to the society.

Mr. Badal called upon the people to celebrate this sacred occasion collectively rising above the parochial considerations of casteism there by paving a way for altruism in human life as preached by Bhagwan Valmik ji.





Daily Punjab press release